Ayurveda made easy to Learn and Practice:

Ayurveda an eternal science of Life

India has a glorious record of great achievements in past with respect to philosophies and sciences. It excelled in knowledge base of great philosophies, mathematics, astronomy and linguistics. As back as in 499A.D. Aryabhatta in his “siddhanta siromani bhuvana kosha”, explained in detail about planetary motions, cause of eclipse and gravitation etc. In the field of mathematics the concept of zero, value of pi and area of triangle etc. are Indian the contributions. No wonder Albert Einstein exclaimed and wrote that “we owe a lot to Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.

Ayurveda is a timeless living tradition of healing. It is a part of the great saga of glorious past of India and its philosophies and sciences. It is time less, since its origins trace to antiquity of human civilization. It is eternal, because the conceptual base of Ayurveda is so vibrant that the modern cutting edge technology will still left want to understand all its dimensions. Its foundations are so strong that it can inspire even futuristic science. Each one of the aphorism from the Ayurvedic samhitas is pregnant with profound insights that can be basis for number of new scientific discoveries. For example, sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina) provided the basis for the research on adrenergic receptors. Treatment for prevention of rabies by datura (Datura stramonium) is based on the premise of blocking the acetyl choline receptors. Ideas of using metals in nano and micro forms in rasa shastra are the fore runners of modern pharmacological use of bi-valent metals, e.g., gold as vectors in gene therapies and new formulations of antibiotics as organo- metallic (Cu) complexes (cephalosporin copper complex). These are but few examples. It is at the least a five thousand year old experiential wisdom. Charaka samhita described all the disease manifestations we see today, e.g., Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and Alzheimer’s disease etc. Sushruta samhita describes practically more than hundred surgical instruments used by the modern surgeons. The practice of asepsis in surgery and also a number of surgical procedures as practiced now days are described in Sushrut Samhita. Chief amongst these are cataract surgery, fistula therapy through kshara sutra and the plastic surgery of the nose. In fact, Sushruta is honored as the father of modern plastic surgery based on his description of the plastic surgical repair of nose, called as Indian nose. Specialized practice of medicine in to eight branches was initiated all most 1500 years ago. It was called Ashtanga Ayurveda. These braches were internal medicine, ear, nose and throat, general surgery, midwifery, gynecology with pediatrics, toxicology, psychiatry, aphrodisiac and rejuvenation. There was a time when Ayurveda was one of the most respected systems of medicine. Its samhitas were translated in to number of foreign languages. Indian physicians were given royal patronage in number of neighboring countries. Many students came to India to learn Ayurveda at the world renowned universities of Nalanda and Taxashila. Tibetan, Chinese, Greek and Arab medicines were influenced greatly by Ayurveda. Its practice is based on pure common sense and intelligent mathematical rationalization.

  • What is Ayurveda?

    Ayurveda is an ancient heritage science of life. It has its roots in the Indus valley civilization. Sindhu was the original Sanskrit name for Indus. Arabs pronounced Sindhu as Hindu. Thus the word Hindu has more a geographical relevance to Indus valley than the Hindu religion. The oldest living literature, Vedas and darshanas (philosophies) flourished in this cradle of civilization from time immemorial. Ayurveda has its origin in Atharva veda and its philosophy relating to origins of life in Sankhya darshana. According to this philosophy the life rests on the tripod of soul, mind and body and it is intimately connected with cosmic environment. This holistic approach is deeply rooted in Hindu philosophy. Therefore it is no accident that Ayurveda is also known as Hindu medicine.

  • What is the unique feature of Ayurveda?

    Concept of wholeness is enshrined in the Upanishadic thoughts. The invocation mantra of most Upanishads proclaim whole of everything in this universe.

    • poornamidam poornamadam

      It means this is full and that is full. Poornam is wholeness or fullness. It is in total contrast to shoonya or Zero concept (nothingness or non existence). Fundamental to holistic approach of Upanishads is to appreciate wholeness everywhere and in everything and all things being in the state of equilibrium or homeostasis (samatvam) with each other in nature.

      Lamark, French biologist in 18th century too described the natural world as full. All forms of life respond through graded series of complexities in their organizations, involving both intrinsic (vital life force) and extrinsic factors. The extrinsic factors in nature exert action on properties, structures and heredity of all living beings.

      The word Holistic refers to wholeness. Holistic approach to human health is the unique feature of Ayurveda. The man is but a small part of the whole, i.e., the environment in which he lives. His problems cannot be viewed and understood in isolation or through reductive approach without considering the environment around him.

      Sankhya, vaisheshika, nyaya and yoga philosophies form the basic foundations of Ayurveda. The principle of interdependence of macro and microcosms has its origin in Sankhya darshana.

    • Pinda Brahmanda nyaya

      This law (nyaya) states that similar mechanisms operate in an atom, in a unicellular organism and a multi cellular organism, e.g., human being, as well the whole of the cosmos.

      Ayurveda believes that purush (living entity) is part of cosmos (virat purusha). Albert Einstein held a similar view, when he said, “the human being is a part of whole called by us, the universe, a part limited in time and space”. He experiences himself as some thing separate from the rest, a kind of an optical delusion of his consciousness.

      Claude Bernard, the father of the modern experimental medicine echoed similar view, when he stated that the circulating body fluids, e.g., blood, serum, intra organic fluids etc. constitute the internal environment, which preserves the necessary relation of exchange in equilibrium with the external cosmic environment. This equilibrium is termed as homeostasis.

      Ayurveda defines health as samatwa, the state of balance or equilibrium or homeostasis between doshas, dhatus, agni, and malas leading to happy state of soul, mind and all the organs of cognition and conation.

      “ Sama dosha sama agnishcha sama dhatu malakriyah
      prasannatmendriya manah swatha mithyabhideeyate”

      Modern medicine also confirms this view. The human being is not just the product of his genes but equally, the result of his environment.

  • How the knowledge is defined?

    Ayurveda is a science of life. Life is a mixed bag of experiences and events, which are wholesome and unwholesome, also happy and sorrowful. Science of Ayuveda addresses all these different aspects of life not just the prevention and mitigation of diseases,

    “Hitahitam sukham dukham, Ayushtasya hitahitam
    Manamcha taccha yatroktam Ayurveda sa uchyate”

    There are four objectives of human life according to Hindu philosophy. These are called as Purusharthas. They are Dharma (social duty based on the universal order), artha (material achievements), Kama (Personal desires, ambitions, sex, reproduction etc.) and Moksha (liberation from ignorance / bondage). Achievement of these objectives is only possible if a person is healthy. Thus, Ayurveda has a role to enable an individual fulfill all the four objectives of his life by keeping him healthy. Ayurveda, helps primarily to promote and maintain the health of the healthy and relief from the disease in a person. Thus, the primary objectives of this science are prevention of disease and positive promotion of health of a healthy individual.

    “Swasthasya swathya rakshanam,
    Aturasya vikara prashamanam cha”--- Ch.Su. 30/26.

  • What is the Scientific foundation of Ayurveda?

    The origins of life and that of universe occupied the thoughts of intellectuals from time immemorial and this topic still continues to be debated. Hindu darshanas or the Indian sciences similarly deliberated on this subject. Roughly they are classified into two categories, viz., 1) Believers in the sanctity of Vedas or Aasthika. 2) Nonbelievers in the sanctity of Veda or Naastika).

    The Aasthika philosophies are sankhya, vaisheshika, yoga, nyaya, purvamimansa and uttarmimansa. The Naastika philosophies are Charvaka, Buddha, Jain etc.

    • Sankhya philosophy

      Maharishi kapila was the founder of sankhya darshana. Sankhya is a meta-physical speculative thought process involving mathematical rationalization. Sankhya darshana is an evolutionary philosophy. According to it, the cause of creation is believed to be ‘Brahmn’. The word Brahmn is derived from the root, brihat, meaning very huge or infinite in dimensions. Another root is Brinhan, meaning nourishing.

      It is defined as infinite true (infallible) knowledge.

      “Satyam gyanam anantam Brahmn” --Taittiriya Upanishad

      Thus, the creator is not understood as a subject or an individual God head, either he or she. It is but an entity called knowledge. In essence, it is the knowledge that is at the source of entire creation. To illustrate this with an example, creator of an earthen pot is neither the potter nor the mud and not evens the potter’s wheel, but it is the knowledge of pot making. The entire cosmic drama runs through an organized program. The planets move in orbits with almost mathematical precision. The seasons come in programmed cycles.

      How futuristic is this profound statement of sankhya for the present day world of information, knowledge and technology?

      Hindu believes that the whole world is rooted in knowledge. Therefore he worships Vedas. The word Veda has its origin in the root vid or vidya (true knowledge). Vidya is defined as follows.

      “ Sa vidya ya Vimuktaye”.

      The knowledge is the one, which liberates a man from the bondage of ignorance. A man for example without the knowledge of the correct route to destination gets confused at the cross roads. But if he is aware with the correct route map, he does not get confused. Thus he feels liberated.

  • How the knowledge is defined?

    Knowledge can be defined as ideas and inspiration that flash following the processing of information by the mind and this rightly processed information enables a person with knowledge to put forth his action plan through the speech and the other organs of cognition and conation.

    When such an action leads to over all welfare, it is called vidya.

    The Aasthika philosophies are sankhya, vaisheshika, yoga, nyaya, purvamimansa and uttarmimansa. The Naastika philosophies are Charvaka, Buddha, Jain etc.

    Avidya or ignorance is simply of opposite purpose, meaning that when the end results of actions following erroneous knowledge do not lead to the common welfare and cause harm to the society.

    Four Vedas are in essence systematized forms of knowledge or sciences. These can be compared to encyclopediae that address different purusharthas or objectives of human life. Rugveda is a science of sociology. Atharva veda is material science. Sama veda addressed the kama purushartha (life style, desires and pleasures etc). Yajurveda is a spiritual science. Thus Vedas epitomized the knowledge dealing with different aspects of a human life. Systematization of Vedic knowledge further in to more organized philosophies by the seers (drashtas) resulted in different darshanas (philosophies).

    Sankhya philosophy proposes that when a sentient (knowledge/ conscioussnes/ Brahmn) cause, which is also an efficient cause combines with material cause, the life originates. The sentient Brahmn is also called ‘Purusha’. Brahmn relates to the macrocosm and purusha relates to the microcosm. Purush is the conscious element that creates awareness. The word purusha is derived from the word ‘puri’, meaning city. The self or Atman or dweller inside the puri is ‘purusha’. The human body with nine natural orifices is termed as puri or city or abode. Purusha or the self manifesting as atma or the soul resides in the body or puri. The self or the soul is the master of mind and body.

    The material cause of the creation is called ‘avyakta’(unmanifest) or ‘prakruti’. So the life is a combination of two elements, viz., ‘prakruti’ and ‘purusha’. This combination is compared to lame (adynamic) and blind (dynamic). Lame person sitting on the shoulders of a blind man, directs the blind to walk the path. Thus, the prakruti is dynamic evolutionary material cause and purusha is adynamic consciousness or the sentient element comparable to a bio-catalyst. A catalyst while acting as an indicator of change, does not participate in the chemical reaction and it does not undergo any change. ‘prakrutipurush samyog or combination ’ is believed to result in all the manifest living systems in this universe.

    Sankhya philosophy describes 24 constituents of life derived out of ‘prakrutipurush’ combination. The philosophy of mathematical rationalization of Greek philosophers Socrates and Pythagoras is comparable to Sankhya philosophy.

    • Vaishesika darshan

      (Atomic theory): Maharshi kanada is the founder of vaishesika philosophy. According to this philosophy, the creation is the result of the union of minutest subatomic particles called ‘parmanus’. He described two types of union of the particles. In the first type, union is physical, when the particles can be brought back to their original form. In the second type they can not come back to their original form. This is a chemical union. The chemical union occurs due to action of fire (agni) leading to cooking or ‘pilupaka’.

      Lucretius Carus another Greek philosopher in the first century B.C. stated similarly that the whole universe is made of invisible particles in continuous motion, which he named as atoms.

      Interestingly word atom has its origin from the root aatman meaning subtle.

    • School of yoga

      Maharshi patanjali is the founder of yoga school. Yoga school believes that the root cause of all the misery in this world is the mind and thoughts generated in it. Hence according to Patanjali, there is no purpose to waste time on the debates of the origins of universe.

      ‘Chittavrutti Nirodha’ or the process of thought control, alone can help to relieve a man from the sorrow and help him attain happiness and peace.

      Yoga is an eight fold technique:

      • Yama : The rules for personal conduct.
      • Niyama : Disciplined practice of those rules.
      • Aasana : Practices of different physical postures and exercises.
      • Pranayama : Technique of breath control.
      • Pratyahara : Withdrawal from worldly objects.
      • Dharana : Focusing mind on object in meditation.
      • Dhyana : Focused meditation.
      • Samadhi : Final state of attainment of peace resulting in release from bondage and achieving a state of bliss or ecstasy.
    • School of Nyaya (logic)

      It is a science of logic. It is a method for obtaining proofs to ascertain the truth or facts and also a way to establish the relation between the cause and the effect. Various methods that establish proof of the facts in order to obtain the true knowledge are as following.

      • Pratyaksha :(Through direct perception).
      • Anuman : (Logic of inference)
      • Upaman : (Establishing a similarity in the form of an example)
      • Yukti : (Establishing a fact through an intellectual exercise)
      • Aapta : (Textual evidence or authoritative evidence given by a person of utmost integrity.
    • School of purvamimansa

      It is all about religious rituals.

    • School of uttarmimansa

      It is the spiritual philosophy of the Hindu religion.

    • Charvaka

      School of absolute materialism

    • Buddhism and Jainism

      They did not believe in the sanctity of Vedas.

    • Upanishads

      Upanishads are the essence of vedas. The stated objective of Upanishads is to make and eniquiry into secrets of creation of life and by logioc and also by experiments to arrive at the conclusions to prove the essence Vedas. Thus every upanishasd starts with the sentence, “ athato Brahmn jignyasa”. Jignyasa is the quest for knowledge and the objective of quest is the Brahmn, the cause of all the creation. Brahmn, the cause of the creation is defined as infinitely expansive, all embracing and self luminous awareness, and blissful reality.

      There are ten important Upanishads. Each of the Veda decreed that the identity of Brahmn and Aatman are same and they are both respectively, the cause of universe and all the creatures in this creation. These decrees are called four maha vakyas or the greatest statements/ declarations / proclamations of profound import, one from each of the veda. They are as following.

      • Pragnyanam Brahmn (consciouness & intelligence is Brahmn) - Atharva veda
      • Tat twam asi ( that or Brahmn thou art or you are the object of your quest) - Sama veda
      • Ayam atma Brahmn ( this Aatman is Brahmn) - Rigveda
      • Aham Brahmasmi.(I or the self am the Brahmn) - Yajurveda

      These four vakyas represent four stages of man’s spiritual evolution. First thing is to understand that consciousness alone is awareness. It is equivalent to greek philosophical statement of “cogito ergo sum”. The next step of quest of knowledge is to understand the object of the search is self alone. The third stage of evolution is to realize that aatman is itself the knowledge. The last stage of spiritual evolution is when a man realizes he himself is true knowledge incarnate and he needs no one to lookout for. Vedas and Upanishads contain some of the great scientific truths and brilliant pearls of wisdom of the orient.

    • Chandogya Upanishad

      It avers “ yenashrutam shrutam/ bhavtyamatam matam/ avigyatamvigyatamiti ” Meaning through which the unheard of becomes heard, the unthought-of becomes thought, the unknown becomes known.

      From non existence no existence can be born, in the beginning only there was Brahmn/Sat or existence. Sat means truth. Sat also means awareness. One can not arrive at any truth with out the knowledge or awareness. Awareness alone is existence. Brahmn is therefore defined as chit or consciousness. It is also known by another synonym anandam or bliss. If one achieves true knowledge he becomes ecstatic, as did Archimedes, when he shouted Eureka. This singular Sat willed to be many. All the variations in the creation have one origin and are different only in the form (roopa) and name (nama dheya).

      “ Ekoham bahu syam” “Sa ya esho animaitad aatmyam idam sarvam tat satyam sa aatma tatwam asi.”

      Through a story, father Uddalaka Aruni explains to son Shwetaketu, how the germ plasm inside the seed is the causal body of a tree. On breaking the tiny seed of banyan one is unable to perceive by naked eye the subtle blue print of huge banyan tree residing in the germ plasm. This blue print is described as the causal body, which indeed is the essence of the self or aatma.

      “ AUM vangme manasi prathishtitha—”— (Aitareya upanishad)

      Aitareya Upanishad starts with a prayer, “ let my speech be rooted in my mind and let my mind direct my speech—”, . It clearly explains the concept of consciousness and its role and relation to functioning of mind and body.

      “Keneshitam patati presitam manah Kena pranah prathamah praiti yuktah Keneshitam vachamimam vadanti Chakshu shrtam ka u devo yunakti”

      • Kenopanishad

        Kenopanishad starts with a question , “ willed by whom does the mind go towards the object? Who directs the prana (vital life force) that precedes all to remain vibrant all the time? By whom is this speech willed that makes one speak? Who is that effulgent one that directs eyes and ears?

        Through simple stories, the upanishad explains the fact that behind each of these organs of cognition, there is another entity with a capacity to process information received by them and thus make an individual aware of his surroundings. Through the knowledge and intelligence (Brahmn) alone humans can tame or control all the mighty natural forces in the nature easily.

      • Mundakopanishad

        Mundakopanishad proclaims that the transcendal, formless, birth less, imperishable and non living (aprana) entity, the purusha (conscious element) is the real source of vital life force (prana), mind (manas) and all the five proto elements (panchabhutas) and every living and non living thing in the creation. The purusha (conscious element) in other words is the conscious soft ware/ or atma. It is the upanishadic Sakshi/ witness or the adynamic catalyst. It propels the hard wares, the mind and body in to action.

      • Mandukyopanishad

        Mandukyopanishad defines the four states of consciousness, viz., waking, dream, deep sleep and the fourth the Turia, the gap junction. Just as the consciousness creates all the world of objects in dream state, it alone creates every thing even in waking state also. Consciousness is the source of all awareness and knowledge. This world in the waking state is also creation based on the knowledge. With out the knowledge nothing can be created.

        It also describes AUM.as the primordeal sound. Activated state of carbon is basic to creation of life. The power of resonance of sound is essential to get carbon in to excited state. Excited state of carbon is basic to life.

        “AUM bhur bhuv suvah, Tat savitur varenyam, Dheeyoyanah prachodayat”

        This famous and the most auspicious Gayatri mantra is an invocation to almighty to grant Dhee (steadfast intelligence) in all the three states of consciousness (bhur: waking state, bhuvar : dream, suvar : deep sleep). Dhee refers to those aspects of mind’s retention capabilities, viz. fortitude (the ability to withstand with equanimity the comforts, difficulties, passion, fear and anger).

      • Taittiriyoapnishad

        Taittiriyoapnishad explains the importance of food. It establishes that prana, the life force is sustained by the food. Food sustains all the five sheaths of the body from the gross to subtle, viz., annamaya (food), prana (energy), manomaya (mind), vignyanamaya (knowledge) and Anandamaya (bliss).

        It also proclaimed the standard of social and moral codes for the society, e.g., mother, father, teacher and guests, elders should be treated with venerations on par with gods.

      • Kathopanishad

        Kathopanishad explains the mystery of death. The death is only a change from manifest to un manifest state. In reality there is no death to self or aatma. The physical body undergoes the death and dissolution and again gets recycled. Atma, the repository of the collective consciousness and intelligence is compared to the warrior or the master seated in a chariot. Mind is the charioteer. The body is the chariot. Thus the self is not the body. Atman can be compared to soft ware. Death affects only the body or the hard ware. The soul or consciouss element in the form of a soft ware is not affected. Death can be compared to a collapse of a building, where as the conscious element, the soul to the blue print of the building, which remains unaffected. This soft ware perpetuates itself through its unending journey from the beginning of evolution, from one generation to other as a chemical memory in DNA. It is preserved in the form of seed or the genetic code (causal body).

        Bhagawat Gita states that in the evolution of the tree of life the roots are above and shoots are below. (urdhva moolamulam adha shakha--) . It states truth of the journey of evolution of life, which is believed to have begun forty billion years ago.

      Man’s quest for immortality has a long history can be seen from the upanishadic prayer. Lead us from untruth to truth Lead us from darkness to light Lead us from mortality to immortality

      Modern scientific development of cloning is an example of man’s quest for immortality.

      Thus these various Hindu sciences or darshanas and Upanishads form the bed rock or scientific foundation of Ayurveda, with out whose knowledge one can not understand the basic principles of Ayurveda. According Ayurveda there are three bodies of a man, viz. soul (aatma), mind (manas) and body (shareer).

Ayurvedic Model Of Life

Charaka’s philosophy on formation of human embodiment and its parts thereof: Charaka Samhita is considered to be one of the oldest literatures in Ayurveda. It is the form of dialogue between teacher and the students. Some of questions asked by the pupils to the teacher are very interesting with regards to human embryogenesis.

What are the origin, cause and elements of composition of Human body?

  • Is the self/Purusha endowed with the knowledge right from the beginning of creation? How is it that the self is eternal and immortal or imperishable?
  • What is the unmanifest primordial material source of creation, the Avyakta Prakriti and what are its modifications?
  • What is Ahankar/ the ID of self?
  • If the self is adynamic, all pervading, infinite, knower of the field and also the witness and free, how then is it born in undesirable wombs?
  • If it is all self empowered why is that the sufferings afflict it? Why the perceptions are subject to the barriers? When the sensations continuously bring about the knowledge of change, how does the self become immutable?
  • What are the cause, source and the remedy of pain and suffering the human embodiment undergoes?

Charaka’s answers are also equally interesting. The Self / Purush/ the conscious element/ agent / doer along with 24 constituents form the Human embodiment (Chikitsa purusha/ treatable human entity), which experiences the entire worldly phenomenon. Since self has no attributes, by it self or through any indications or signs is not inferable. Since it is knower or the cause of all the awareness, it is called as the knower of the field. The field is the Avyakta prakriti, the unmanifest primordial material source of entire creation. The Union of Purush/self with Prakruti results in the first step in creation of life systems. Next in the order is Mahat or intellect. It is born out of self. Intellect is the rational thinking principle of mind. Intelligent is the one, who is endowed with the faculty of reasoning. The next in the order of creation is Ahankar/ ego, which is the ID of self. Next in line is Mind. Mind is not conscious, but when yoked to self, it is impelled by self in to activity. Mind has the faculties of dhee(reception/ understanding), dhriti (retention/ fortitude/ will power), smriti (recall/ memory), chintan (thinking) and buddhi (judgement/ intelligence). With the mind thinking systems develop. Mind is an instrument (upadhi). Objects of mind are thoughts, comprehension, contemplation, imagination, hypothesizing and determination (sankalp) and initiation of actions. The two qualities of mind are Ekatwam (single) and anutwam (subtle/ atomic). Next in order are five tanmatras/ subtle qualities of sound, touch, vision, taste and aroma. These qualities belong to five gross elements ether/space, air, fire, water and earth respectively. These five qualities can be perceived by mind through five organs of cognition, viz. ear, skin, eyes, taste buds of tongue and nose respectively. Mind acts through five organs volition or conation, viz. tongue (speech), hands, feet, excretory and genital organs.

Self is imperishable, omniscient, all pervading just as space from both inside and outside of every thing living. The suffering pain, misery, happiness is only experienced by the conglomerate of 24/25 elements.

Ayurveda thus proposed theory of evolution of life based on the sankhya model of 24 constituents. As per this model, in the beginning of creation, there was existence of only ‘Sat’, the awareness or consciousness ‘Brahmn’. Awareness alone is existence. It is the only reality and the primary cause of this entire creation. The logic of this hypothesis is that out of nothing or non existence (Shunya vad of Buddhists) no new creation is possible. The singular sat willed to become many” quotes Brihadaranyak upnishad. “Ekoaham bahusyam”.

In deeper reality it means we all have one singular origin from the cosmic purusha or virat purush. James jeans, a renowned physicist echoes this upanishadic thought when he said “in deeper reality beyond the space and time we may all be the members of one body. Beyond the time and space all the life on this earth has singular origin and indeed whole of this world is one family say wise Hindu seers. “ Vasudhaiva kutumbikam” Brahmn, the cause of creation is also defined as pragnyanam or consciousness.

“pragnyanam Brahmn” (Aitareya upanishad). Taittiriya upnishad defines Brahmn as “the infinite, infallible, never altering and ever lasting true knowledge.

“satyam gyanam anantam Brahmn”. The pragnyanam (consciousness) consists of sixteen phases or ‘kalas’. These are sentience (sanjnanam or chetna), leadership (ajnanam), knowledge (vijnana), electric response and presence of mind (prajna), ability to understand and memorise (medha), fore sight (drishti), fortitude (dhriti), intelligence (mati), original thinking ability (manisha), sorrow (juthi), memory (smrithi), intent (sankalp), resolution(kratu), speedy action (ashu), desire (kama), and passion (vasana). Thus pragnyanam represents the consciousness intelligence combine.

Consciousness (pragnyanam) is one. It is same in man, in animals, in gods. Consciousness is self-illuminating; it has been same through all the ages. It is never born and never has it perished. It beholds the ‘pranashakti’ (the life force) says Swami Vidyaranya in Panchadasi.

Consciousness is awareness, an ability to perceive one’s relationship with his environment. It is the capacity to receive, store, recognize the information and it also enables an individual to process the information in to knowledge and use this knowledge to organize or program all his activities. Thus an individual is a unique unit of experiences, activity and interactions that drive them along their developmental trajectories.

Andrade in 1999 described semiotic agency as information gathering and using systems. Zurek extended these properties to living entities. Semiotic agency merges and transforms the internal and external flows of energy.

Vidyaranya compares consciousness to vast canvas on which the pictures are painted again and again. He called this as chitra deep (pictorial lamp). Pragnyanam or the consciousness is the true essence of life. Four stages of cognitive process are receiving information (dhee), retention (drhiti), recall (smriti) and Judgement (buddhi). This cognitive process organizes both external and internal informational resources in to global knowledge in a unified dynamic mind. It is interesting to see the same language is used in modern day computing. Foregoing proves beyond an iota of doubt that Sankhya indeed was aware of the computer like functions of human brain.

Freeman Dyson defines life as a material system that can acquire, store, process and use information to organize the activities. It uses the energy from the various sources in this universe for the purpose of its activities. Thus the living organism harnesses four chief types of forces in nature, viz. nuclear force, electromagnetic force, electro weak force and gravitational force. The resonance of the sound is also a form of energy. The consciousness beholds these energy forms as life force or prana shakti.

The holistic approach considers human being as a part of whole, meaning the universe. Universe or Virat purush should be understood as an organism, which is sentient and is endowed with feelings. It is a cohesive whole with higher organization and sophisticated systems coordinating coherent activities (Lamarck). All the organisms are interconnected in a maze of well organized complicated net works of pulsating energy fields of this universe. The human energy field is called prana/ aura. The Prana concept in Ayurveda is this very pulsating energy field in and around the living human body. The consciousness also flows freely in the form of intelligence webs just as energy and different fluids in the body flow in different channels. Living body also is capable of producing energy through oxidative metabolism (combustion of various nutrients consumed, digested and absorbed).

The pragnyanam or consciousness operates through dhee, dhruti, smruti, chintan and buddhi. Dhee is reception, dhruti is retention, smruti is memory or recall, chintan is thinking, buddhi is will or judgment. Processes of enquiry and analysis of information gained leads to knowledge. So first the information is created, processed, analyzed and the knowledge is generated. It is stored into memory system for future recall. Knowledge is acquired through direct perception through ones own cognitive organs (pratyaksh) or indirectly through inference (anuman), upaman (example), Yukti (innovative intelligence by rational application of mind) and aapta (textual or authoritative knowledge). Mandukya Upanishad described three states of consciousness. Vaishwanar is the stage of wakefulness, where the person is conscious to external world (Bahipragnya).

Taijasa is the dream state. He experiences through subtle mind. Pragna is the state of deep sleep. During the deep sleep there is an intense activity in the brain, which can be demonstrated by EEG. Deep sleep has great restoration power. During the deep sleep all the wear and tear of the body is repaired. Growth hormone and melatonin are released during sleep. It improves the memory. This stage is also considered as prajna Ghana, a mass of consciousness and state of sublime joy. Ayurveda considers a good sleep as one the three pillars for good health along with good nutrition and exercise.

The gap junction between the deep sleep and wakefulness state is the fourth state or Turia of Mandukya upanishad, which is the abode of Brahmn or the conscious element of living body.

Mind collectively refers to the aspects of intellect and consciousness manifested as combination of thought perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination.

Ayurveda believes in oneness of mind, characterized with the nature of enquiry, debate and criticality and doubt ( mano vimarsha rupam). Where as buddhi (Intelligence) is the faculty of reason and decision and judgment. (Buddhihi nishchayatmaka).

Every living cell is a conscious and intelligent entity. The intelligence plans cell’s own growth, endows the hereditary characters, initiates and performs actions instinctively just as a man constructs his house, rail roads and other structures. –(Nels Queli- 1916). In other words the intelligence is the cause of creation. Intelligence in the cell creates all its organelles, drives the regulators, functional and structural genes. Single cell of an embryo has a blue print to develop in to seventy two trillion cell human body. The information is stored in genes.

Consciousness refers to awareness of surroundings and where as intelligence refers to the intellectual power of mind, e.g., skillfulness and decision making etc. It is of two kinds. One is intuitive, which is innate. The other is innovative based on rationale. The second type can be acquired through learning or training.

The artificial intelligence is processed through digital and analog coding in a computer. How exactly the information is encoded and processed in brain is not known. It is believed that information coded in human brains is partly analogue and partly digital. Analog processing is exploration of new shape space signifying basic work actions. It leads to emergence of qualitative new instance by self organization. Digital coding deals with exploration of fine tuned shape space and work actions in the previous shape space through expansion in the digital informational space (Eugenio Andrade). Apart from analog and digital forms of coding in human brain, a third possibility could be quantum coding process, though the quantum computers are not yet made. In genes the information is coded most likely to be digital.

Neuro sciences have been undergoing tremendous revolution in understanding of the consciousness. What was once considered as junk DNA (ncRNA) or non coding RNA is taking centre space in human genome. Studies now indicate ncRNA function is driven by a language that couples the analog and digital information that helps the information processing in brain. Newer mechanisms are being hypothesized for the complex processing of information that occurs in cells and as well the brain. Evolutionary goal is to help gather greater amounts of information rapidly and the information acquired is processed, stored and utilized and finally discarded, when not required by utilizing the free energy. (St.George Laurent)

“Cogito ergo sum”.

Descartes said that “I think therefore I am. The life and consciousness are synonymous. The consciousness is also the primary property of the whole universe and universe exists in the infinite consciousness, the formless ‘Brahmn’. The intelligent cosmic consciousness is an independent entity, enveloping the whole cosmos both from inside and outside like space. It is the chief cause of life. It is the basic tenet of Hindu philosophy. Prakruti started initially from the stage of ‘Avyakta’(Unmanifest). The unmanifest prakruti combines with the purusha (microcosmic form of Brahmn/ projection of cosmic consciousness), results into the creation of life. Prakruti also signifies forward progression or dynamic action.

“ prakrishtena kriyate “./20

  • “ Karya karana kartrutve hetu prakrutir uchyate” --Bhagawat Gita 13/20

    Karya is the accomplishment of an action. Karana is instrument. Kartrutwa hetu is the cause of action. All the three reside in prakruti. It is the cause of all sensory functions, which form five tanmatras, viz. shabda (sound), sparsha (touch perception), roopa (vision), rasa (taste) and gandha (perceiving of aroma). Respective pancha maha bhutas, viz. aakash, vayu, agni, jal and prithvi are derived from these panch tanmatras.

    Karana or instruments include buddhi (intellect), ahankar (ego or ID of self), manas (mind) and all ten indriyas or organs of cognition and conation. Kartritwa is the cause of action. Prakriti is the material cause of creation and it is dynamic, signifying the action.

  • “ Purushah sukha dukhanam bhoktrutwate heturuchyate “. --- Bhagawat Gita 13/20

    Purusha, the sentient efficient cause is the one, which is responsible for happiness or sorrows during the journey of life.

    This combination of prakriti and purusha results into the entire manifested material world. All the matter is believed to be very highly condensed form of the space. Matter and energy are very closely interrelated to the space and time.

  • “ avyktadeeni bhutani vyakta madhyani Bharata avyakta nidhananyeva tatra ka paridevana” --- Bhagawat Gita 2-28

    Lord Krishna, a great exponent of Sankhya states that all the beings before they are born are in the un-manifest form and after birth they are in manifest state and again after the death they become un manifest. The sentient Self never ceases to exist in both birth and death.

    This combination of prakriti and purusha results into the entire manifested material world. All the matter is believed to be very highly condensed form of the space. Matter and energy are very closely interrelated to the space and time.

“ aham nirvikalpo nirakar roopo vibhurvyapya sarvatra sarvendriyanam Sadame samatwam na muktirna bandhahachidananda rupam shivoham shivoham” -- Adi Shankara.

Self is existence, pure consciousness and bliss, all auspicious and second to none without any alternative, form less, all pervading, enveloping all the indriyas and always the cause of equilibrium or homeostasis, un affected through birth and death.

Combination of prakriti and purusha is compared to blind man (hard ware) and lame man (soft ware). Blind man walks under the directions of lame. Thus adynamic soft ware, the Purusha programs the dynamic prakriti in to action. From this combination emerges the Mahat, which is the ocean of the matrix of intelligence. Next in line to emerge is Ahankar, the ID of the Self. The chief properties of biology are survival and reproduction. Every bio molecule possesses the property of self assembly, organization, duplication and multiplication and self perpetuation. Thus the billions of species of plants and animals on this planet owe their existence to this property of self perpetuation called Ahankar or the ego. Every organism can identify and discriminate the Self from foreign invader and has power to eliminate the invader. This is the cause of immunity.

Qualitative results of processing of information results in different types of knowledge, functions and actions in an individual. Different types of encoding of information can also be explained on the basis of different types of particle motions in a solution. In Brownian motion the particles move hither and thither with out gaining any momentum and also the direction. Opposite of it is the vigorous motion with momentum. And the third type is the balanced organized motion. Three types of encoding of information are mediated according Sankhya and Ayurveda by three distinctive qualities or tri gunas or primal qualities, which are prakruti derived.

They are Satwa, Rajas and Tamas.

  • Satwa

    Satwa is the balancing or organizing quality which signifies subtlety, clarity and luminosity of thought and also the action.

    “ tatra satwam nirmalatwat prakashakam anamayam Sukha sangena badhnati gnyana sangena dehinam” , Bhagawat Gita 14/6

    Satwa causes clarity, illumination and a state of health and absence of disease. It endows a person with knowledge and happiness. Satwic person is faithful, healthy, strong, loving in nature and happy. He is a man of fortitude, duty bound and non craving and with strong convictions and is fond of unctuous, tasty, sweet and hearty meals. Liquid crystal state of protoplasm can be compared to satwa.

  • Rajas

    Rajas causes vigorous forceful motion of particles with a momentum and the direction. Thus a rajasic person’s thoughts, emotions and actions are vigorous.

    “Rajo ragatmakam viddhi trishna sanga samudbhavam Tannibadhnati kaunteya karma sangena dehinam”, ---- Bhagawat Gita 14/7

    Rajas signifies passionate desire and motivated action. When this quality increases, the man becomes selfish, greedy and develops excessive craving for things and becomes ill physically and mentally. Rajasic person is proud, egoistic, and boastful, easily becomes angry and can become violent. He is fond of hot, dry, acidic, spicy, sour and salty foods and is prone to disease and sorrow.

  • Tamas

    Brownian motion causes inertia and signifies darkness and ignorance. Thoughts fly without any direction or focus, leading to utter confusion in a tamasic person.

    Tamasatu agyanajam viddhi mohanam sarva dehinam Pramad aalasya nidra bhi tanni badhnati Bharata “, ---- Bhagawat Gita 14/8

    Rajas signifies passionate desire and motivated action. When this quality increases, the man becomes selfish, greedy and develops excessive craving for things and becomes ill physically and mentally. Rajasic person is proud, egoistic, and boastful, easily becomes angry and can become violent. He is fond of hot, dry, acidic, spicy, sour and salty foods and is prone to disease and sorrow.

    The Tamasic person is fond of stale, fermented and bad in taste, spoilt and left over food. Ayurveda believes in these primal qualities being responsible for determining the different mental make up of persons.

According to Charaka samhita depending on permutations and combinations of these three qualities of processing of consciousness during the period of embryogenesis, birth of millions of different types of psychic personalities occur. Charak in sharira sthana described for the sake of simplicity, sixteen types of psychic personalities. Seven satwic, six rajasic and three tamasic types.

  • Satwic
    • Brahma: Pure, truthful, self controlled, discriminative mind, knowledgeable, understanding, power of exposition, ready wit, flash memory, free of passion, desire, anger, greed, conceit, infatuation, envy, dejection, intolerance, equanimous.
    • Arsha: devoted to daily rituals of sacrifice, studies, and vows, homa offerings, celibate, hospitable and free from pride, conceit, attachments, hatred, infatuation, greed and anger, genius, eloquent, with restraint, retentive. He is rishi like.
    • Aindra: like Indra, the lord of devas. Leadership, authority in speech or commanding in nature, ritualistic, energetic / powerful, splendor, without blemish, foresight, virtuous, wealthy, sensuous and pleasure seeking.
    • Yamya: Like yama, the god of death. Propriety, righteous, unassailable, up right and hard working, sharp memory, wields authority and power, free of passion, attachment, envy, hate and infatuation.
    • Varuna: valiant, courageous, clean, strict follower of good and clean environment and enforcing of hygiene, ritualistic, fond of aquatic sports, honorable pursuits and fair in distribution of favors and recriminations.
    • Kauvera: Like Kubera, the lord of wealth. Commands status, honor, luxuries and attendants. Constant pursuit of virtue, wealth, pleasures, upright, interested in recreation, and moody.
    • Gandharva: fond of dancing, song, music, praise,. Passion for poetry, literature, history. Addicted to pleasures of aromas, flowers, women and recreation. Free from envy.
  • Rajas: (passionate characters)
    • Asura: Like demon. Valiant, despotic, envious, terrifying, pitiless, fond of self adulation
    • Rakshasa: intolerant, full of hatred, vengeance, cruel, gluttonous, fond of eating flesh, indolent, somnolent, envious.
    • Paisacha: Ghost like. Voracious eater, womanizer, unhygienic, coward, bully, abnormal types of recreation and diet.
    • Sarpa: Like serpent. Touchy, when excited responds strongly, indolent, fearsome, fond of food and recreation.
    • Preta: Ghost like. Envious, indiscriminate, vulgar in character and conduct, very fond of food, lazy, covetous.
    • Sakuna: Bird like. Strong attachments, delights himself in food and recreation, fickle minded, intolerant, non acquisitive.
    • Preta: Ghost like. Envious, indiscriminate, vulgar in character and conduct, very fond of food, lazy, covetous.
    • Sakuna: Bird like. Strong attachments, delights himself in food and recreation, fickle minded, intolerant, non acquisitive.
    • Tamasic: (confused mental disposition / inertia)
    • Pasava: Animal type: forbidding disposition, non intellectual, disgusting behavior, abnormal dietary habits, Abnormal sexual habits and pleasures, somnolent.
    • Matsya: Pusillanimous, unintelligent, greedy for food, unstable mind, strong likes and dislikes, fond of water, itinerant (constantly on move) habits.
    • Vanaspatya: Vegetable type. Lazy, moron, gluttonous eating habit.
  • Tamasic: (confused mental disposition / inertia)
    • Pasava: Animal type: forbidding disposition, non intellectual, disgusting behavior, abnormal dietary habits, Abnormal sexual habits and pleasures, somnolent.
    • Matsya: Pusillanimous, unintelligent, greedy for food, unstable mind, strong likes and dislikes, fond of water, itinerant (constantly on move) habits.
    • Vanaspatya: Vegetable type. Lazy, moron, gluttonous eating habit.
  • Tanmatras

    Tanmatras are five sensory functions, which the consciousness perceives. These are shabda (sound), sparsha (touch perception), roopa (vision), rasa (taste), gandha (aroma). These functional tanmatras create the five respective proto elements called panchamahabhutas, viz. akash (space & sound energy), vayu (biological air), Tej (light & fire/ solar radiations), jal/ aap (water), prithvi (earth), five organs of cognition and five organs of conation.

    It is an interesting concept, that the functions of an organism initiate create and form and control the basic elements of material nature in the living forms. This concept of genesis of materials from the qualities is based on the sankhya principle, “ Gunavat dravyam”.

    James Jeans in his book, “Mystery of Universe”, says that today there is wide measurement of agreement, which on physical side of the knowledge is heading towards a non mechanical reality. The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Old dualism of mind and matter, which was mainly responsible for supposed hostility seems likely to disappear, not through matter becoming any more shadowy or unsubstantial than here to fore or through mind becoming resolved in to function of working matter, but though substantially matter resolving itself in to creation and manifestation of mind.

    Five organs of cognition/ gyanendriyas are ear, skin, eye, tongue (taste buds), and nose. Five organs of conation / karmendriya are speech, hands, feet, and anus and genito urinary organs.

    • Pancha Mahabhutas/ Five proto elements

      Five mahabhutas, viz., prithvi, jal, tej, vayu and aakash are believed to be the basic building blocks of the entire manifest world. In the order of creation the first proto element created is Aakash, since it is the subtlest.

      • Aakash (cosmic space & sound)

        It is formed by the shabda tanmatra. “Shabda gunam aakasham”

        Sound is the chief characteristic of akash. AUM is described as the primordial sound. It is called pranava mantra. Pranava means life creating. When the cosmic silence is broken at the time of big bang, the first sound that generated was AUM (resonance of sound). With AUM the cosmos is set in to mode of creation. AUM is described as akshara, meaning non decaying.

        “ AUM ityekasharam Brahmn, Sarvam omkara evahi” –Mandukya Unishad.

        Sound is an energy form. Energy never ever is lost. It can only change the form. Sound thus is the most essential cause of creation. Fred Hoyle has described resonance factor of the sound, which is essential for all fusion reactions required in the evolution of all the elements. Resonance of sound is the essential factor for getting the carbon in excited state. Excited state of carbon is the pre requisite for all the life in this universe. (Fred Hoyle).

        Ultra sound energy is used to demolish tall towers and as well to break renal calculii. Sound of music has great harmonizing and healing effects. Akash is considered as possessing the quality of satwa. Thus sound was recognized as an organizing factor in the creation. Sound and sun are described respectively as Nada Brahmn and Aditya Brahmn by ancient Indians.

        What is the fabric of cosmic space?

        Strings theory believes that every substance in the world is made of tiny vibrating strings. Every particle is a vibrating string at different frequencies. At different resonances these strings create 57 different sub atomic particles- from electrons to quarks to muons and every thing else. Only 4% of universe is made of visible matter that represents the lowest vibrating strings. Thus the universe is a symphony of strings. The cosmic music resonating through hyperspace is what Einstein wrote about as mind of God (Michio Kaku, professor of physics, City college, Newyork). This theory also talks of nine spatial dimensions of which we only know three. The fabric of the cosmic space is believed to be the microwave background.

        Interestingly ancient Indians believed in Tantus (fine threads or strings) as the fabric of life. They have described nine (nava tantu) of them to be responsible for creation of life. The sacred thread worn by Hindus thus has nine fine threads in each one of the three threads as symbolic of navatantu. Great poet saint Kabir compared the life to chadaria or blanket made of subtle tantus or strings of thread.

        The matter is believed to be very highly condensed form of the space. Matter and energy are the two sides of a coin and are very closely interrelated to the space and time. According to Siepmann the universe consists of two basic physical components: matter/energy and Space. Space can never be created or destroyed. Space has a cohesive and elastic nature which resists displacement by matter/energy and separation from itself. When Space is displaced, it becomes warped and thereby exerts a force in the direction of its displacement. The force of displaced Space is proportional to the amount of matter/energy displacing it. This force is what we have called “gravity”. The one concept that is necessary to change though is that of gravity being a pulling force. Rather it is more correct to think of it as a pressure like force being exerted in the direction of the matter/energy that is displacing it, similar to the force that the atmosphere exerts on a balloon (. Siepmann, The Laws of Space and Observation, Journal of Theoretics, Vol.1, Nr.1http://www.journaloftheoretics.com

        According to Alan Wallace gravitation is the function of the space, watching is the function of the consciousness. We have an experience of formlessness and weightlessness and spaciousness; it seems that cosmic space is the consciousness itself. Cosmic space is the upanishadic Chidakash or conscious space. Consciousness in an individual organism or the man is described as ghatakash (space in a pot). Thus space like consciousness envelops everything from outside and inside. There is always equilibrium between formless space and matter.

        Once a man recognizes that the space exists outside and inside of him, the division between the outer and the inner, between I and the world becomes fine. Thus the sankhya conceptulises aakash /space as satwa tama (highest form of satwa or organization), based on this very harmonizing nature.

      • Vayu (biological air)

        Sparsha tanmatra gives birth to vayu. It is considered to be raja tama (extreme form of rajas). It is therefore most vigorous in action. Of the five pranas vayu is the fifth says Pippalada in prasnopanishad. Rests of the four pranas are the four basic types of energies described earlier. Vayu is believed to be responsible for all the actions in the body. Prana is the life energy. Living organism generates energy through oxidative metabolism. Air is a mixture of gases, viz., nitrogen (80%) and oxygen (19%) and other gases in minor quantities. Nitrogen is the bench mark of all proteins. Proteins form the building blocks of the body. Nitric oxide gas, the combination of both oxygen and nitrogen is now believed to be one of chief neurotransmitter in the body. Discovery of different gases, e.g., NO and CO etc. as neuro-transmitters has confirmed the Ayurvedic concept of vayu as an agent responsible for all types of neuro-muscular actions in the body.

      • Tejas (solar radiations)

        Roopa tanmatra is the cause of light and fire. Chemical composition of the universe is chiefly hydrogen (90%), helium (8.9%), carbon (0.03%), oxygen (0.07%) and nitrogen (0.01%). The resonance factor of sound (akasha) is required for the fusion of two hydrogen atoms resulting in helium and release of different types of radiations from the sun. The hydrogen bomb is the fusion bomb where two hydrogen atoms are fused. The solar radiations, which are the result of the fusion reaction, include ultraviolet, infra red, cosmic rays, electric discharges, shock waves, heat waves and many other types of radiations. Sun thus is the chief energy giver to this universe. Ancient Indians described sun as the cosmic prana, soul of this world and verily the creator. Tejas is again satwa dominant, hence is one of organizing factors in the evolution of this creation.

        “ suyah atma jagatah” “ Asau aadityo Brahmah”

      • Aap / Jal ( water)

        Water is essential for life. All the living beings are more than 60% water in their content. It is combination of hydrogen and oxygen. Both are inflammable gases. Thus from the fire came water say Upanishads. Water is also responsible for taste or rasa. Water is one of the best solvent required for all the chemical reactions.

      • Prithvi ( earth):

        It is created from the gandha tanmatra. Aroma has its origin in carbon atom. Excited state of carbon is essential for life. Silicone based life exists at very high temperatures at the core of earth. Carbon and silicone share similar chemistry.

    Thus twenty four elements constitute the creation of life according to Sankhya philosophy. Ayurveda accepts it as it basis of formation of life.

    Padarthas are objects of perception. Perception is the act of perceiving by senses. These are seven in number as described by Vaisheshika philosophy.

    • Dravya (substance): Substance is that in which qualities exist.
    • Guna (quality/ attribute): It is the quality that makes a thing what it is. It describes the character, nature or property. There are ten pairs of attributes one opposite of other. Guru and laghu, ushna and sheeta etc.
    • Karma (action): it is the result of activity.
    • Samanya (principle of assimilation): it is genus or a class of objects with similarity.
    • Samavaya: (inherent inseparable combination)
    • Abhava: (non existence)

    Sankhya does not believe in non existence, because all the matter exists in its two mirror image forms (positive and negative). To illustrate this point, temperature is one, where hot and cold are two opposite, positive and negative mirror images. In the universe both matter and antimatter exist. Big bang theory proposes that the creation is the result of collision between matter and antimatter.

Definition of matter:
It is that which occupies the space and it can become acquainted through our bodily senses.

  • Nine substances

    Substance is defined as the one in which the qualities exist. They are nine in number. Five protoelements, aatma (soul), manas (mind), dik (space) and kaal(time). The five proto-elements are already discussed.

    Aatma (soul): According to Charaka, it is the principle of knowledge, subtle, self born. It is not dissolved by the death and enters in to new wombs to take new births and new forms.

    It carries with it the burden of memories of past actions of previous births. It determines the Aayu (life span), intellectual and physical potentials of an individual. Charaka described twenty functions under the control of aatma.

    • Aayu (life span)
    • aatma jnana (knowledge about self)
    • manas (mind)
    • indriyas (organs of cognition & conation)
    • prana (life forces)
    • prerana (initiation)
    • dharma (rightful action and faith)
    • akriti (figure)
    • swar (voice)
    • varna (complexion)
    • sukha (happiness/ well being)
    • dukha (sorrow/ disease)
    • itcha (desire)
    • dwesha (envy)
    • chetna (consciousness)
    • dhriti (fortitude/ retention)
    • buddhi (intelligence/judgement)
    • smriti (memory/ recall)
    • ahankar (property of self perpetuation)
    • prayatna (effort)

    These twenty functions of aatma fit in the modern concepts of genomic program. Genome is the instruction manual or a blue print. It is lame purusha, who is adynamic as described earlier. It is also called sakshi or an observer. The property of consciousness is observation. Thus a man can observe one’s own mind and his behavior. It is also called the causal body.

    It represents the timeless travel of information and knowledge in DNA spiral in the form of chemical memory from one generation to next generation, ever since the egg was fertilized by a sperm for the first time at the beginning of the creation. Thus the Aatma is described as unborn or self born. It has no death, as with the collapse of a building the blue print does not get affected. The information which is encoded in DNA in an embryo is first imprinted and then programmed in the intra uterine life. This creates the genetic potential of an individual. This gene imprinting is described by the ancient Indians as Brahma lekh (writing by Brahman). It is also called the causal body.

    • Manas or mind

      Manas or mind is also believed to be a substance. With the emergence of mind in a living system, the thinking system takes birth. Thinking is groping like a blind man. Mind processes the information by enquiry, doubt and debate in other words thinking. Mind (think tank) is therefore defined as the one which questions to find the answers for real understanding. (Mano vimarsha roopah meaning mind is a crtic).

      Once the understanding is reached, it is like a blind man getting vision. The knowledge is the vision. Knowledge can be acquired. Understanding is intelligence. This is not borrowed. It is your own. It is the judgment or definitive or decisive mind or buddhi. (Nishchayatmaka buddhi)

    • Dik or Space

      Space is the one in which material bodies have extension. Itself space is formless and weight less and it envelops every material thing from outside and inside. Eight dishas or directions, e.g., north, south etc. and up, down and circular directions represent the nine spatial dimensions. Space is dealt in aakash in details.

    • Kaal or Time

      It is concept arising out of change either experienced or observed. The change is real. A day begins with sun rise and night sets in with the setting of sun. A new born child turns in to a toddler and progresses to become adolescent, adult and finally old. A seed turns in to sapling and then in to a big tree. Seasons go on changing in a cyclic form. Thus time represents the chronology of events. Time is experienced as an independent physical quantity, although there is no clear evidence of its existence. Time can not be perceived with the same clarity as matter and cosmic space. It has its existence only in the present moment. The question then arises is how can time be experienced without being perceived?

      The answer is given by analyzing the current scientific way of experiencing. Information enters the senses, goes into the mind where it is elaborated, reaches the subject and becomes an experience (Sorli).

      Measurement of time is done by many ways. Sun dial is an earliest instrument that worked by changing shadow casted by gnomon on a circular dial. Age of the tree is determined by counting annual rings on its trunk. In case of dating a fossil we compare the change in decaying C-14 atoms vis-a-vis those living. Radioactive C-14 atom decays to one half in about 5700 yrs (half life). In an atomic clock, the second is the time unit of 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation corresponding t0 the transition between two energy levels of ground state of caesium 133 atom.

      In Newtonian physics, time is an independent physical quantity (absolute time), running uniformly throughout the entire cosmic space (absolute space). In the General Theory of Relativity, time is no more an independent physical quantity. It is linked with space into four-dimensional space-time. Time runs slower in those parts of the universe where roundness of space-time is bigger, gravitational field is stronger. Experiments confirm that the clocks near the sea run slower than on top of high mountains. Gravitation is stronger near the sea than on the top of the mountain (Sorli).

      Oriental concept of time is not linear past, present and future, but it is circular (kala chakra). One example of this is the repetition of history. Evolutionary cycles represent this Kala chakra concept.

      Space in biology is biosphere. Biological time is that in which the phenomenon life is manifested through billions of years by its expression through evolution of many species on the earth. Chronobiology is all about the seasons and biological clocks. Ayurveda attaches great importance to chronobiology. Ritu charya and dinacharya form important part of Ayurvedic preventive medicine.

      • Causes of disease

        According to Charaka, pragnyaparadh is the primary cause of all diseases. Pragnya is the synonym for intelligence.

        A quick wit, discrimination and profound knowledge are the bench marks of an individual possessing Pragnya. Failure of intelligence leads to misjudgment, confusion and loss of restraint on the mind leading one to do the actions that can be considered as volitional transgression. The thoughts and actions get clouded with passion. Man commits unethical / sinful / abnormal / perverse actions.

        Possessed of envy, passion and fear, pride and anger, greed, arrogance and delusion, he becomes immodest, shows disrespect towards venerable persons, indulges in harmful acts, visits prohibited places, keeps bad company, and intoxicates self.

        Possessed of envy, passion and fear, pride and anger, greed, arrogance and delusion, he becomes immodest, shows disrespect towards venerable persons, indulges in harmful acts, visits prohibited places, keeps bad company, and intoxicates self.

        Sensations give pleasure and pain. Craving, desire hate passion are all Rajas based. Charaka proposes remedy, i.e., renouncing the passionate attachment to objects. This he called as Yoga. Method of achieving yoga is to firmly fix or concentrate with pure mind.

        Attainments of Yoga are as following.

        • Entering in to other’s body
        • Telepathy
        • Doing miracles through self will
        • Clairvoyance
        • Clairaudience
        • Omniscience
        • Effulgence
        • At will to vanish from the sight

        By overcoming the passion and delusion through the practice of yoga one gets totally freed from the past actions. It is understood as the nature of liberation.

        What one should do to achieve liberation from misery?

        Charaka advises the following principles in ones life style for achieving the liberation.

        • Rightful company (Satsang)
        • Avoid company of wicked
        • Abstinence
        • Study of scriptures
        • Solitude
        • Meditation
        • Aversion to sensuous pleasures.
        • Supreme determination
        • Perseverance of practices for salvation
        • Annihilation of desire and attachments
        • Fixing the mind in self firmly
        • Continuous inquest for the truth.
GUNAS (Qualities)

“Gounatwat Gunah”. Because of its inferiority (gounatwa) to substance it is called Guna .

  • “Dravyashrayatwat”: Dependence on substance.
  • “Nischeshta Karanatwat”: adynamic
  • “Hetusto Asamvayitvat”: It is not causative

Quality is bereft of any action. It is substance, which is the cause of action. The quality and action both reside in substance. Learning about quality and action is important from the point of use of substances in treatment in Ayurveda.

Qualities are of three types.

Qualities of Aatma (soul)
Charaka describes ten qualities out of which five belong to consciousness -intelligence (Buddhi). They are :-

  • Chetana (Consciousness).
  • Dhruti (Fortitude).
  • Ahankar (Ego).
  • Smruti (Memory).
  • Buddhi (Intelligence).
  • Iccha (Desire).
  • Dwesha (Envy).
  • Sukham (Happiness).
  • Dukham (Misery).
  • Prayatna (Effort).

There are five special qualities belonging to proto elements.

  • Aakash : Shabda (Sound)
  • Vayu : Sparsha (Touch)
  • Tej : Roopa (Vision)
  • Aap : Rasa (Taste)
  • Prithvi : Gandha (Aroma)

Ordinary Gunas are of twenty types .Ten pairs are of opposite qualities .These are present in all substances in this material world.

  • GUNA
  • ACTION
  • Guru (heavy)
  • Brumhana
  • Sheeta (Cold)
  • Sthambana
  • Manda (Slow)
  • Shamana
  • Snighda (Unctous)
  • Kledana
  • Shlakshana (Amorphous)
  • Ropana
  • Sandra (Viscous)
  • Drava (Liquid)
  • Mrudu (Soft)
  • Kathina (Hard)
  • Sthira (Steady)
  • Sara, Chal (Mobile)
  • Sukshma (Suttle)
  • Sthula (Gross)
  • Vishadha (Transparent)
  • Pitchila (Sticky)
  • Laghu (Light)
  • Langhana
  • Ushna (Hot)
  • Swedana
  • Tikshana (Intense / acute)
  • Shodana
  • Ruksha (Dry)
  • Shoshana
  • Khara (Rough)
  • Lekhana

    Out of the twenty qualities Ayurveda considers eight of them very important and they are called Virya or Potency. They are:-

  • Guru (heavy)

    Guru is heavy by weight. These substances are difficult to digest. They cause heaviness of the body and lower the metabolic fire. Guru substances are difficult to disintegrate while cellular metabolism is in progress. Heavy quality signifies earth element primarily and water element secondarily. It increases Kapha and pacifies Vata. Biologically the heavy substances nourish, help tissue growth, stability and compactness, thus they promote Dhatus and as well the weight and strength. These substances cause constipation and obstruction to channels or strotasas. Conditions like Aama (a result of improper digestion), Prameha (Diabetes), Udar (Ascites), giddiness and weakness, Jwara (fever), Grahani (IBS) are commonly associated with this quality.

    Blackgram, Milk Products and meat etc. are heavy. Of all the tastes, sweet taste is heaviest. The next heavy taste is astringent (kashaya). Substances of Madhur Varga are heavy in nature. During visarga kal (Cold season) the quality of heaviness increases.

  • Laghu (Light)

    By weight it is light. Body also feels light after their consumption. The lightness is the natural quality of Aakash and Vayu (Air).Tej (Fire), Solar radiations are also light in nature.

    The light substances get easily digested; increase the gastric fire. Do not produce Satiety. Bitter taste is lightest of all the tastes. In hot season that is Adankal, this quality is very high. The bitter taste in drugs is best in fever and also in all light quality herbs or substances can be used to treat the conditions which are caused by heavy quality. This causes decrease in weight, decrease in in bulk of tissues or dhatus, increase in Vata and reduction in kapha. They are good to remove inflammatory debris (Lekhana) and healing of ulcers. They remove the obstruction in the channels and bring down the heaviness of the body and aid the excretion of waste materials or excretae (Malas).

    The light substances enhance inspiration, enthusiasm and initiative. Naturally light substances are puffed rice and wheat, green gram (Moong), Lava Bird’s meat, etc. By cooking and processing you can bring lightness to the food articles.

    These substances when ingested easily get disintegrated, absorbed, distributed in tissues fast, can cause propagation like neurological impulses and neuro hormonal functions. The bitter and astringent tastes are light.

  • Sheeta/ Hima (Cold)

    By touch it can be identified as cold. It is the characteristic of Jala mahabhuta, i.e., water element. It opposes the hot quality, brings down fever and pacifies pitta, increases vata & kapha. It nourishes the dhatus, stops bleeding, increases urine out flow, causes constipation, reduction of sweat and is pleasing to mind. This quality helps to alleviate the conditions caused by Pitta, e.g. thirst, burning, hyperacidity & fainting.

    Examples are Chandanadi varg, Durvadi varg .The coldness contracts the vessels to stop the flow of the blood, especially useful after any injury or trauma. Application of ice on sprain, injury or trauma is an example. Of the season Hemant, Shishir, Varsha are cold in nature.

  • Ushna (Hot)

    That which feels hot by touch is the quality of hotness. It is the quality of the fire element. It increases Cellular metabolism. It causes increase in pitta, reduction in dhatus, Kapha and Vata. It has good detox (Shodhan) quality. Improves complexion and lustre. Pungent, sour and salty tastes are hot in nature. It increases raktapitta (haemorrhagic tendency), causes excessive sweating. It disturbs mind. Its qualities are visible more during hot season and Sharad rutu (autumn). It increases digestive Fire. Hot sun or the fire or anything that cause sweating (covering of blankets) or the herbs, e.g., Chitrakadi Gana increase the hot quality.

  • Snighda (Unctuous)

    That which increases wetness or slipperiness.

    • Sneham Ardravam Kruta, Snighdho balvarna karasthatha - Sushrut
    • Snigdham vataharam Shleshmakari balaVaham Vrushyam - Bhavprakash

    It is the special characteristic of water element. It relieves Vata and increases Kapha. It nourishes all the tissues and dhatus and strengthens them and it also gives strength to body. It is also virilific (Vrushya) in nature, it brings into channels, the fluidity, thereby aids the movement of doshas, dhatus and malas. Before any cleansing action (Detox), it is always necessary to oleate a person.

    The substances, which possess this quality are ghrut (clarified butter/ ghee), Tel (oil),Vasa (fat), Majja (Bone marrrow). All the snigdha objects are also heavy meaning guru in nature. Sharad and Hemant rutu have highest proportion of this quality.

  • Ruksha (Dry)
    • Yasya Shoshane Shakti sa Ruksha - Hemadri

    That which causes evaporation and dryness is ruksha. It is due to air element. It increases vata and decreases kapha and also pitta. It hardens and reduces the tissues. Excessive drying can produce obstruction in the channels, can also cause constipation.

    Haritki, Chitrak are examples of ruksha herbs. Of the diet articles like yava, rajgira, vanshkari, nagli are ruksha. The seasons of Shishir, Grishma and Vasant rutu produce excessive dryness.

  • Mand (slow)

    Manda is slow in action and in motion and also refers to poor digestive fire, and to low level of intelligence. These medicines are very good for alleviation of especially Pitta and for increasing of Kapha, It is characteristic of two elements, viz., earth and water. It improves the nourishment of the tissues & causes tonification of the tissues. Of the seasons, Hemant is the best for this quality. Rasayana herbs are mostly manda in quality, e.g., Shatavari, Durva ,Anantmul.

  • Tikshna(Intense)

    Tikshna means fast in action. They are very good to relieve the channel obstruction. In modern medicine we call such substances as thinners.

    • Tikshnaah chedne.

    Breaking of the constituent molecules is the function of this quality. It is the quality of fire element.

    It increases the Pitta and depletes the kapha and vata. It causes the loss of the tissues. This quality helps in reduction of the weight. Substances with this quality cause burning and raise the heat of the body. The seasons in which this quality increases are Sharad,Vasant and greeshma. Some examples of this quality are old wine, black pepper and mustard seeds, tridhari nivdung, Jaipal and danti.

  • Vishada (Clear / transparent)

    Tikshna means fast in action. They are very good to relieve the channel obstruction. In modern medicine we call such substances as thinners.

    • Kleda Cheda kara, khyato Vishada Vranaropana

    Those substances, which bring clarity or which cleanse the systems are endowed with this quality.

    Vishada substances cause clear headedness, cleanliness and shining etc. It increases Vata and reduces Kapha. These substances help in cleaning the ulcers and wounds and aid healing them. It causes reduction in tissues and dhatus. Examples are Kshara (caustic alkalis), madhu (Honey), and other astringent substances, e.g., shikakai, ritha and amlaki and nyagrodhadi varg.

    Nagaarjuna has added two more Viryas

  • Vishada (Clear / transparent)
    • Kleda Cheda kara, khyato Vishada Vranaropana.

    Those substances, which bring clarity or which cleanse the systems are endowed with this quality. Vishada substances cause clear headedness, cleanliness and shining etc. It increases Vata and reduces Kapha. These substances help in cleaning the ulcers and wounds and aid healing them.

    It causes reduction in tissues and dhatus. Examples are Kshara (caustic alkalis), madhu (Honey), and other astringent substances, e.g., shikakai, ritha and amlaki and nyagrodhadi varg.

  • Pichchil (sticky)
    • Yasya lepne shakti sa Pichchila. That which is used for annointing.

    All those substances, which cause lubrication, are pitchila in nature. It is the quality of water element. It nourishes the tissues and binds them. This quality is useful in treating fractures, wounds and ulcers. Substances possessing this quality usually relieve constipation. eg., isabgol. Other examples are horn of antelope/sambar, curd, gum, new rice, mocharas and lady’s finger are few examples of the substances possessing this quality. Hemant rutu is the best time for this quality.

    It causes reduction in tissues and dhatus. Examples are Kshara (caustic alkalis), madhu (Honey), and other astringent substances, e.g., shikakai, ritha and amlaki and nyagrodhadi varg.

  • Sukshma (Subtle): very small in dimension. Act rapidly at molecular level, enhance chemo neuro transmission. It is quality of akash, the sky.

    PARADI TEN GUNAS
    Visheshika philosophy adds ten more qualities for the study.

  • Par: pradhan, in other words primarily important
  • Apar: secondarily important
  • Yukti: intelligent planning and execution.
  • Sankhya: Numbers
  • Sanyog: Combinations
  • Vibhag: Divisions
  • Pruthakatwa: Individualizing
  • Pariman: Measurement
  • Sanskar: Processing
  • Abhyas: Study
Tridoshas

Tridoshas form the three molecular biochemical mechanisms of the body .These determine both physical and mental processes that occur in the human body. Tridoshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are derived from five proto-elements, which form the basic chemistry of the body. Each distinct quality of the doshas can only be inferred on the basis of the qualities of the causal element. By observing these qualities one can identify a dosha.

Dry, rough, light, cold, subtle and mobile qualities distinguish the Vata dosha. It is formed by the two elements, viz., aakash (sky) & vayu (air). Pitta can be recognized by the qualities of hot, sharp (acute), light and fluid. Pitta is formed by the elements of fire and water.

The heavy, cold, unctuous, slow (steady), moist and soft characteristics or qualities distinguish the Kapha dosha. Kapha is formed by the combination of earth and water.

Vata, Pita, Kapha are very subtle entities of molecular level of the body mechanisms. Hence they can only be inferred by observing their qualities. At the molecular biology level the main three mechanisms that operate are regulatory, transcriptional or transformational and structural. The whole psycho-somatic, biochemical and biophysical integrity of the body depends on them, hence tridoshas in their condition of normality (physiology) are called dhatus.

The proper balance or homeostasis of these mechanisms maintains the healthy status of an individual. Any decrease or increase or abnormal accumulation of any one or more of these doshas, can cause a disease. Hence these are called Doshas. The body is born out of five elements and continues to get replenishment by them from the constituents of the food that is consumed. During the process of digestion and metabolism of the ingested food, at different levels, while in gastro –intestinal tract, these three doshas are continuously generated as bye products of dhatus and get replenished. Hence they are also called metabolites or malas. Thus vata, pitta and kapha are doshas, dhatus and malas. The locations of their origins are amashaya (upper GI tract) for the kapha, the pachyamanashaya, for the pitta and pakwashaya, the lower GI tract for vayu

  • Vata

    Since Vata’s main quality is motion (chala), all the bodily functions related to motion as for e.g., traveling of the nerve impulse, muscular contractions and relaxation, circulation of the fluids and tissues, peristaltic movements of the gut, breathing, elimination of excretae, movement of joints, speech etc. are all due to vata. It also governs at the mind level, quickness of the thought, creativity and the ability to communicate speedily. The qualities of dryness and the coolness of the air element enhance the vata, e.g., season of fall. Excessive physical activity, eating Vata aggravating foods, waking late in night, excessive anxiety and depression, excessive traveling can vitiate or increase vata abnormally. When vata is in the state of balance, it is like pleasant cool breeze and when it becomes abnormal it is like a whirl wind. This abnormal vata can produce many diseases. About 80 such disorders have been described in Ayurveda .Some examples are arthritis, hypertension, insomnia, parkinsonism, premature aging, intolerance to cold climate, bloating of the abdomen, irritable bowel, constipation, dry scaly skin, cracking of the joints, urinary disorders, premature ejaculation, heart disease etc.

  • Pitta

    Pitta in essence is fire; it is hot, acute and light. There is also some water element in pitta, which gives it a fluid character. It helps in cooking and transforming all substances in the body. Its functions are digestion, metabolism through conversion by enzymes, by various digestive juices as for e.g., bile and hormones. Through the metabolism in body, it generates heat and energy, it not only aids to digest the food but it also helps in digestion and processing of information by mind. It is the cause of vision in the eyes. It empowers the minds of thinkers and visionaries (alochaka pitta) and is also responsible for the high level of intellect of good debaters and the capabilities of all the achievers (Sadhaka pitta).It gives skin, the luster (Bhrajaka pitta) and psyche, the Joy, courage and will power. All these above mentioned functions are the result of well balanced pitta. When this fire of pitta accumulates abnormally, it can overheat the person physically and as well mentally. The metabolism is raised as for e.g., in condition like hyperthyroidism (Bhasmaka disease). When the mind heats up due to excessive pitta, it results in anger, jealousy and rage. Rage of pitta can create a hell of ego. Pitta can also cause infections, inflammation, rashes, heartburn, fever, hemorrhage. Pitta gets imbalanced in autumn and late summer (Sharad and Grishma rutu). Certain foods, angry disposition of mind, stress and smoking, hot stimulating drinks like coffee, tea, alcohol etc. are the factors that aggravate pitta.

  • Kapha

    Kapha is born of water and earth elements. Its main characteristic is unctuousness, apart from others, viz., heavy, steady, cold. Another term which denotes kapha is sleshma. It is derivative of the root shlisha / alingana, meaning embaracing. It causes sturdy tissues. Connective tissues embrace all the cells.

    All the tissues, which include cells and connective tissues, the body fluids thus signify kapha qualities. Kapha also moistens the food, helps early digestion of food in GI tract and it is responsible for bulk of all the tissues. Intracellular, extra cellular fluids, lymph, all the fluids that lubricate the joints and cerebrospinal fluid etc. are all kapha based. At the mind level, it bestows cool and comfortable predisposition, fortitude, patience, affection, attachments and greed. Kapha also reduces the pace of thinking, raises inertia, it induce laziness. When kapha is abnormally accumulated, it causes obstruction to the channel, produce many diseases like obesity, diabetes, chest problems, asthma, sinus problems, hyperthyroidism, intolerance to cold and heart diseases. At mind level it may cause lethargy, attachment, depression.

Natal Constitution (Prakruti)

Much before Darwin, Sankhya philosophy established that man shares a common ancestry with all the living beings in this world. The units of genetic inheritance reside in gametes was very well known to Charaka, much prior to Gregor Mendel, who established the theory of inheritance by experiments. Charaka advised strongly against consanguinous marriages (Sagotra), in order to avoid congenital abnormalities in new born. He has also described defects in the embryo (Bijadushti), defects in the parts of the embryo (Bijabhagdusti/ chromosomal abberations).

What is more interesting is, Ayurveda tried to classify people on the basis of certain physical, biochemical and psychological characteristics based the predominance of doshas either singly or in combination. It postulates that the mechanisms operating at the time of conception inside the mother’s womb determine the peculiar individual constitution based on the predominance of one or more of the dosha mechanisms. Once the prakriti or the natal constitution of an individual is formed it is for ones life time. We understand that all the human races are genetically similar to the extent of almost 99.9%. That small difference of o.1% that differentiates one individual from the other is due to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

In short ayurveda understood the mechanisms that operate during the period of gene imprinting that determine an individual’s genome and his genetic potential. By the differences in the genetic makeup every individual is different from other. The physical and mental makeup of the people can be broadly developed into the seven dosha based categories of constitutions.

  • Vataja
  • Pittaja
  • Kaphaja
  • Vata-Pittaja
  • Vata-Kaphaja
  • Kapha –Pittaja
  • Sama

These seven prakrutis will show their representative characteristics either single or in combination of dosha in a person. Knowledge of the natal constitution enables a physician to predict susceptibilities of his patient to various various diseases on the dosha based imbalances and the vagaries of climate, diet and age and country etc.

Following questionnaire in tabular form can help classify an individual person in to one of the constitution types.

  • Characteristic
  • Air + Sky (Vata)
  • Fire + water (Pitta)
  • Earth + water (Kapha)
  • Frame
  • Are you thin, lanky and slender with prominent joints and thin muscles?
  • Are you a medium, symmetrical built with good smooth muscle development?
  • Are you large, round or stocky built with broad frame and stout or strong bones & muscles?
  • Weight
  • Low in weight? Forgetful to eat or have a tendency to lose weight?
  • Moderate wt? Easy to gain or lose weight?
  • Heavy in Wt.? Gain weight easily and difficult to loose?
  • Eyes
  • Eyes small and agile?
  • Penetrating gaze?
  • Large pleasant eyes?
  • Complexion
  • Skin: thin, dry or rough?
  • Skin often flushed, reddish in color and prone to irritation?
  • Skin is thick smooth and moist?
  • Hair
  • Dry, brittle and frizzy hair?
  • Hair: fine with tendency towards early thinning or graying?
  • Abundant, thick and oily hair?
  • Joints
  • Joints: thin and prominent and have tendency to crack?
  • Joints: loose and flexible?
  • Joints: large, well knit and padded?
  • Sleep pattern
  • Light sleeper with a tendency to awaken easily?
  • Moderately sound sleeper, usually needing less than eight hours to rest?
  • Deep and long sleep and tend to awaken slowly in the morning?
  • Body temperature
  • Hands and feet: usually cold and prefer warm environments?
  • Hands &feet: usually warm, regardless of the season and prefer cooler environments?
  • Adaptable to most temperatures but do not like cold & wet climate?
  • Temperament
  • Lively and enthusiastic by nature but short lived. Always yearns for change?
  • Purposeful, focused and intense with great convincing power?
  • Easy going, friendly and supportive?
  • Under stress
  • Easily become anxious and/or worried?
  • Easily become irritable and /or aggressive?
  • Easily become withdrawn and /or reclusive?

Score: Vata (Air) Pitta (Fire): Kapha (Earth):

The score of different doshas determine the predominance of a dosha. This helps in typing the constitutional type of an individual. Some more questions can further help the grade of predominance of doshas.

Vata (Air + Sky): Tick mark the number between 1 and 5 (5 is meaning the strongest agreement) in each box by answering the questions in the chart below to assess the dosha type.

  • Are you feeling worried or anxious?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Have you been falling asleep early and also get awakened easily?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you feel restless if not constantly on the move?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Is your digestive fire irregular with frequent gaseous bloating Sensations & belching?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Are you constipated with hard and dry feces?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Does your daily schedule of awakening, dining and sleeping more often irregular and varies from day to day?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Are you impulsive in nature?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Is your memory span short?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you start every thing with great initiative but fail to follow through?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you generally have a number of physical concerns?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Kapha (Earth + Water): Tick mark the number between 1 and 5 (5 is meaning the strongest agreement) in each box by answering the questions in the chart below to assess the dosha type.

  • Are you overweight and feel it difficult to loose extra Kgs.?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you feel heavy after eating?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you suffer frequent colds, coughs and sinus congestion?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you feel the difficulty in terminating relationships?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you often deal with conflict by withdrawing?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Are you easily frustrated by other’s incompetence?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you find it difficult to start your day?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Are you happy with your own routine and resist fast pace?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Are you a passive spectator rather than a performer in activities e.g., sports and athletics.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Do you feel sleepy and sluggish after a meal?
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Calculate the total for each section to understand the score for each dosha in terms of physical and behavioral qualities to determine the predominance of one dosha over the other. Thus one can find ones own natal constitution or prakriti. If one dosha is much higher than the other, then you are a single-dosha type. Most indicative is a score, where the primary dosha is twice as high as the second (for example, Vata-15, Pitta-30, Kapha -15), but smaller margins also count. A true single dosha type displays the traits either of Vata or Pitta or Kapha very prominently. Your next highest dosha will still show some influence in your natural tendencies, but to a much lesser degree.

If no dosha is extremely dominant, you are a twin-dosha type. This means that you display qualities of your two leading doshas, either side by side or in alteration. The higher one comes first in your body type, but both count. Most people are twin-dosha types normally. Once you know your dosha, you can balance your doshas using oils, teas and diets, herbs and other sensory complements like music etc.

Chronobiology

Nature’s rhythm, in terms of the days, nights and the seasons, the cycles of the sun and moon affect the environment of the man and his health, both physically and mentally. Ayurveda believes that the man should alter his lifestyle in line with the dynamics of the nature. A day consists two primary cycles of the nature. They are day and night, in which Vata, Pitta, Kapha qualities are predominantly noticed at different phases in a cyclic form. At the sunrise, there is more predominance of Kapha, in the noon, the Pitta and around sunset it is Vata .It is interesting to note that in the evening blood pressure records are higher as compared to morning and most of the breathing problems occur early in the morning, e.g., asthmatic attacks.

The second cycle starts at sunset with predominance of Kapha, at midnight it is pitta and past midnight, the Vata and the cycle ending at sunrise. Most peptic ulcer perforations occur in the midnight. It is at midnight most people feel their bodies warmer. Maximum incidence of strokes and myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) occur past midnight during the phase of Vata predominance.

Seasonal rhythms

Different qualities of five elements increase or decrease during the particular season giving rise to predominance of particular dosha. For example, Vata gets aggravated during the rainy season and fall, during early winter there is aggravation of pitta and during the late winter and early summer or spring there is aggravation of kapha.

Charaka asserts that a man who knows the seasonal homologation with regards to diet and life style and practices the proper regimen will be bestowed with good strength, vigor and complexion.

“ Tasyashitaadyaharad balam varnascha vardhate” –ch.su. 3

Having the knowledge of different seasons and following the guidelines could be the best form of preventive medicine.

Six rutus, each lasting two months comprise three seasons, which are well defined in India. They are as following.

  • Shishir: Magha (begins on 14th January) + Phalguna (begins14th Feb.) (Late winter)
  • Vasant: Chaitra (15th March) + Vaishakha (15th April ) (spring)
  • Greeshma: Jyehta (15th May) + Aashada (15th June) (Summer)
  • These six months period is Debilitating due to strong sun shine and is called Aadana kal.

  • Varsha: Shravan (15th July) + Bhadrapada (15th August) (rainy season)
  • Sharad: Ashvija (15th September) + Kartika (15th October) (Fall)
  • Hemanta: Margashisha ( 15th November) + Pushya (15th December-14th January ) (Winter)
  • This period of six months when the sun rays are mild the body metabolism is of the nature of positive or Nourishing and is called Visarga kal.

Guidelines for summer life style

  • Eat more cooling foods
  • Wear light, absorbent clothing, e.g., cotton.
  • Take cool baths and showers.
  • Avoid overly spicy foods.
  • Drink more water.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun between noon and 3pm
  • Take a short nap during day
  • Favor cooling exercise such as swimming
  • Take walk under moon light.

Guidelines for fall season

  • Favor warm food and drinks.
  • Include more heavy and oily foods in your diet.
  • Include warm oil massage in your morning routine.
  • Cover your head on windy days.
  • Avoid sleeping in cold drafts.
  • Avoid fasting.
  • Keep well hydrated.

Guidelines for spring

  • Favor a lighter diet
  • Follow some type of cleansing program or fast.
  • Wake up earlier.
  • Participate in outdoor activities.
  • Avoid taking naps during day.
  • Keep cool as the weather heats up in late spring.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature.
  • Hemant and Shishir ritu
    • Diet
    • Lifestyle
    • Herbs
    • Sweet, sour and tasty foods can be taken. In this season digestive system becomes more powerful
    • Massage with oil.
    • Draksha (grapes)
    • Wine prepared from jaggery can be taken .
    • Udvartan with fine powder of kumkum
    • Amla (Indian gooseberry)
    • Wheat /gram flour products ,milk products ,sugarcane products and corn edible oil
    • Exposure to sunlight and fire to keep yourself warm
    •  
    •  
    • Wear leather, silk and wool clothing
    •  
    •  
    • One should indulge in intense sexual pleasure in this season.
    •  
    •  
    • Drink wine
    •  
  • Vasant ritu
    • Diet
    • Lifestyle
    • Herbs
    • Consume honey or drink water mixed with honey.
    • Every individual should do Physical exercises and undergo massaging of the body
    • Chandan (Sandal wood)
    • Eat flesh of such animals which are inhabit desert areas or tropical countries like rabbit, pigeons etc
    • After massage, bathe in water sprinkled with Karpura/ Chandana / Kumkum
    • Karpur (camphor)
    • Alcoholic beverages like Asava, Arishta etc. in moderation advised.
    • It is the time to undergo the process of Vamana (emesis), Gargle (Gandoosha) & nasya with tikshna substances
    • Kumkum (Saffron)
    • Avoid hard to digest and cold, sour , sweet and fatty foods that increase kapha and cause dosha imbalance and diseases
    • Avoid sleeping during day
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    • Avoid hard to digest and cold, sour , sweet and fatty foods that increase kapha and cause dosha imbalance and diseases
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    •  
    • Drink water prepared from boiling “musta” (cyperus rotundus )and shunti (zingiber officinalis) in it.
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  • Grishma ritu
    • Diet
    • Lifestyle
    • Herbs
    • Sweet, light, and liquid with a little oily food is advised
    • Anoint body with chandan paste and take with cold water bath.
    • Corn, Madhuka (liquorice) ikshu (sugar cane), kashmarya (Gmelina arborea)
    • Wine is not advised as it can cause burning sensation and even debility, if only necessary can be taken in a very little quantity.
    • Stay in cool places, wear light dresses, use perfumes.
    • Kharjur (Dates)
    • Boiled rice with meat, corn flour, curd can be taken in food
    • Sleeping during day is permitted as nights are short
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    • Drink cold water. Panak, Panchsara (Syrup prepared with Draksha, sugarcane, Madhuka, Date, Kashmarya and Parshuka fruits all in equal quantity cold with cardomam powder
    • Too much exertion and sunshine should be avoided
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    • Food with pungent, sour and salt taste should be avoided
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    • Fresh juices and juicy fruits, salads, buttermilk advised in abundance.
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  • Varsha ritu
    • Diet
    • Lifestyle
    • Herbs
    • Easily digestible food to be taken
    • Panchkarma can be done
    • Ginger
    • Pulses, meat juice, soups, old grains and Mastu ( thin water of yogurt) can be taken in food.
    • Perfumes can be used
    • Black pepper
    • Boiled & cooled water with little honey should be drunk
    • Avoid sleeping at day time, exertion and too much exposure to sunlight
    • Lemon
    • Ginger, black pepper and lemon juice may be taken to reinforce appetite
    • Oil massages and regular bath should be taken
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  • Sharat ritu
    • Diet
    • Lifestyle
    • Herbs
    • Bitter astringent and sweet taste can be included
    • Udvartan with chandan
    • Chandan Sandal wood
    • Take easily digestible food like rice ,green gram, amla , honey and sugar
    • Bath with warm water
    • Durva (Conch grass)
    • Eat lots of rice, barley & wheat along with curd. Cabbage, cottage cheese, milk
    • Pearls give soothing effect from aggravated pitta
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    • Avoid Liquor, heavy food ,oil
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Chandanadi varga (Varnya varg) best in Rakta pitta.

  • Chandana (Sandalwood)-Santalum alba
  • Nagkeshar - (Mesua ferrea),
  • Padmaka (Prunus padum) or bird cherry
  • Ushir (Cuscus Grass) -Vetveria Zizaniodis,
  • Manjistha -(Rubia cordifolia)
  • Sariva – (Hemidesmus indicus)
  • Vidari Kand-(Pueraria tuberosa)
  • Madhuk (Liquorice Root)-Glycerrhiza glabra
  • Priyangu – (Callicarpa macrophylla)
  • Sita - (safed dub,creeping cynodon)-Cynodon dactylon
Pathogenesis in Ayurveda

Every disease processes is due to a cause or Nidana(etiological factors).Identifying the cause is the first step in the therapy. Premonitory symptoms of the disese are called Purvaroopa.Upashaya is the relief from the symptoms and resolution of the disease.The totality of the disease process is pathogenesis or samprapti.In all seven types of disease are described in Ayurveda.

  • Adibalpravruta - Genetic and hereditory diseases.
  • Janmabalpravruta - Congenital diseases, which are caused due to improper care or improper life style of mother or faulty nutrition of the fetus during the period of intrauterine life.
  • Doshabalapravruta - The diseases caused due to irregular life style, diet and behaviour or due to disturbance of doshas, dhatus, agni and malas altering homeostasis of the body. These are of two types, viz., organic and psychic disorders.
  • Sanghatbalapravruta - Traumatic & poisons.
  • Kalabalapravruta - Chrono-biological (due to seasonal variations).
  • Daivabalpravruta - Epidemics and Pandemics.
  • Swabhavbalapravruta - 7. Age related.

Acharya Charaka has described three main causes of disease.

  • Asatmendriy indriyartha samyog

    Abnormal between the objects of perception on one side and the organs of cognition and conation on the other is Asatmendriya indriyartha samyog. It is of three types. It can be excessive indulgence (Atiyog). Over exposure to television, loud sounds etc. It can be also under use or disuse (hina yog). Disuse results in atrophy of the muscles as can be seen in case of a leg put in a plaster cast. Perverse indulgence (mithya yoga) can also be a cause of disease. It can be seen in cases of HIV/AIDS caused by perverse sexual indugences.

  • Prajnyaparadh

    Failure of intellect leading to volitional transgression is Prajnyaparadh. It results in commiting of abnormal and immoral actions by an individual. It is the cause of asatmendriyartha samyoga. According to Ayurveda, Sentient intelligent purusha intiates and controls the dynamic prakruti, representing the physical body. Intelligence flows in body in the form of web. It is important therefore for us to understand that the intelligence initiates and controls all the activities, viz., regulation, transcription and structural formation, through genes at the molecular level in the cells of the body. It provides the informational coherence to all the processes that occur in the cells. It is now believed that any block in the pathway of this information coupling systems can lead to the failure of the physiological mechanisms ending in to pathology.

    Inflammation is a protective mechanism that ensures the return of body homeostasis. Current concept of process of inflammation is follows. Tissues first respond to stress through the sensing by DNA. The next step is the morphic disassembly resulting in information coding and coupling. This results in further organization of inflammatory machinery. The objective is to detoxify the offending toxins, remove debris and offending agent.The release of regulatory cytokines, interleukines and interferon, the cellular and humoral immunity factors,e.g. macrophages, lymphocytes and TNFα etc. and variety of other inflammtory molecules, e.g., prostaglandins are part of the inflammatory machinery. Coherent coupling of information leads to normal cellular response in the form of proliferation and remodelling through cell adhesion matrix and achievement of the homeostasis. If the information system coupling fails or becomes incoherent the process will either lead to chronic inflammation as a result of senecense or in to genomic instability ending in to cancer.

    One can now see the similarity of Kriya kala approach of Ayurveda and modern concept of inflammatory process. What causes the block in the pathway of the information coupling system?

Ayurveda proposes two mechanisms.

  • Srotovarodh

    Human body is a bundle of infinite numbers of channels of sizes ranging between ultra microscopic to macroscopic. These carry and circulate all the possible things ranging from subtle intelligent information and nerve impulses to gross fluids,viz., blood, lymph and solid cells. Any obstruction in the pathway leads to accumulation of disease producing doshas, there by disrupting the body homeostasis. Homeostasis is therefore termed as the intelligence of the body. How strotorodh initiates the pathology can be understood by a simple example. Imagine a wash basin in your home. As long as the dranaige is happening properly every thing is fine. But the moment the draine pipe is bloked, a stink starts emanating. This is due to accumulation of saprophytic bacteria colonizing and metabolising at the site of obstruction. The bacteria are ubiquitous. They only colonise on the site of obstruction, where they can thrive on the organic matter. The same mechanisms operate in body. They require a local site which is hospitable. Channel obstruction provides an excellent opportunity for microbes to colonise, thrive and create a disease condition.

  • Vegavarodh

    Vegavarodh literally means the repression of natural urges of the body. These are called dharaneeya vegas. Charaka advises restraint of urges related to psyche both emotional and verbal, but advises not to restrain tears of sorrow. There are others, which should not be with held against the natures urge. Man is a social being. Because of the rules of civilised society, a man gets compelled to repress the natural urges, e.g., farting of the flatus, micturition and defecation etc.Other natural urges that are advised not to repressed are hunger, thirst, and yawning, sleep, short breath and expectoration, vomit and belching, sneezing and sexual urge.

    The undue restraint of all these natural urges is fraught with initiation of disease processes in body as the Ayurvedic conceptulisation.

    How does the restraint of natural urges initiates the pathology?

    Let us take the case of Gastro intestinal (GI) tract. It is guarded by different gate keepers at different levels, called sphincters. The normaly functioning sphincters maintain the health of GI tract. Between the Pylorus and ileo-cecal valve gut is completely sterile. The whole of the caecum and colon is colonised by millions of microbes. This marvel is only possible, if the sphincters are continent and competent. The repression of hunger or over eating or irregular eating habits can adversely affect the health of pyloric sphincter. It can lead to reflux of alkaline bile in to stomach. This alters pH of the stomach requiring more acid production, there by result in acid peptic disorder. Similarly, abnormally restrainig the urge of defecation, the competence of anal sphincter and ileo-cecal valve are affected, leading to colon infections, piles and irritable bowel syndrome etc. Same hypothesis can be applied to alteration of bladder physiology. Thus the vegavarodh principle of Ayurveda can explain number of the diseases known as civilizational.

    Ayurveda describes six stages of pathogenesis, called kriya kalas.They are sanchaya, prakopa, prasar, sthana samshraya, vyakti and bheda.

    • Sanchay : In this stage accumulation of vikrut or abnormal doshas in other words inflammatory genes occurs.
    • Prakop : It is the state of excitement of doshas with the release of inflammatory molecules, e.g. cytokines, chemokines and interleukins etc.
    • Prasar : Entry of the inflammatory molecules and products in to general circulation, cause generalized symptoms, e.g., fever and malaise etc.
    • Sthana Samshray : Localization of the pathology. The immune power of the body localizes the pathological process.
    • Vyakti : Expression full blown pathology that can be identified with all the signs and symptoms.
    • Bheda : Termination of disease. Three modes of termination are total healing, chronic condition and death.

    From what has been stated Ayurveda, conceptualized the kriya kalas of disease in a very sound scientific manner comparable to modern concepts of inflammation.

    • Preventive Medicine

      Ayurvedic wisdom recognizes the role of preventive medicine. It is based on swatha vritta (Rules for healthy life style) and sadvritta (ethical code of conduct). We have already discussed the healthy life style in relation to chrono biology. Unwholesome diet should be avoided. Ayurvedic dietetics form important body of the knowledge. It is discussed in another chapter titled Ayurvedic dietetics. Sadvritta is equally important for maintenance of good health. It is called achara rasayana. Vitalization through ethical living is the epitome of wisdom of Ayurveda. Truthful, sober, angerfree, continent, not addicted to alcohol, restrains from hurting others, does not over strain, tranquil, fair in speech, knowledgeable, diligent, spiritual in temperament and actions, compassionate, moderate, balanced in mind at all times, not egoistic, without any blemish in conduct, respectful approach towards elders, atheist, good self control, reads scriptures regularly are the qualities of person who can benefited with vitalization.

      Thus the importance of ethical values in life stressed as part of preventive medicine apart from hygiene.